For our Free Macros Masterclass a couple weeks ago, we didn’t get to a FRACTION of the questions that were submitted, so we hope to continue to answer those questions in a series on the blog as well as doing more Macros Masterclass Q&A’s for you!
Macros Masterclass Q&A Continued
I want to be sure I’m eating enough but not to much. Especially with proteins since I am nursing and exercising. How do I do that without tracking macros? I love the idea of balanced meals and enough of each, but don’t want to go to the extreme (for me) of tracking. Thank you!
If you’re not interested in tracking macros, it’s 100% possible to still have a healthy relationship with food and eat enough to fuel your body! We have two tips for living a healthy lifestyle and building healthy habits to sustain you for your life! These tips can and should also be implemented with anyone who is doing macros!
Eat when you’re physically hungry, and stop when you’re satisfied. There are some hunger scales out there that you can use to help gauge your hunger if you feel out of touch with your hunger cues. If your milk supply starts to drop, then add a little bit more food into your day!
The second tip is to eat foods that you enjoy! If you’re not eating foods you enjoy then how can you expect it to be sustainable!? Plan your day around foods that sound filling, nourishing, and satisfying to the tastebuds. Foods that please taste, texture, temperature, etc… No need to eat mediocre food!
Can macros help with preventing weight gain at any age, specifically around the age of menopause?
Absolutely! The beauty of macros is literally it’s tracking your food intake to use as feedback for how to move forward in reaching whatever goals you have. Macros can be effective for women of all ages, sizes, stages of life, etc… For more information on what flexible nutrition (tracking your macros) is about, read up on our blog post “What is Flexible Nutrition?”.
If you are wanting to cut body fat, should you keep fat % low and protein % on higher side?
Not necessarily! Successful fat loss is all about an adequate protein intake (anywhere from 0.8-1.2g protein per lb body weight) and being in a calorie deficit. That is the bottom line! Whatever you feel is best for you and your body as well as what you can be most consistent with, that’s the key to successful fat loss! You can’t spot fat loss, and there definitely aren’t magic macro numbers. The magic comes from CONSISTENCY, your ability to learn as you go, and adjusting your numbers based on your progress. It’s important to make OUTCOME-BASED decisions when making adjustments to your macros. And you can only make outcome-based decision if you’ve been consistent with your numbers to know if they’re working for you in the first place!
When should you reevaluate your macros? I’m thinking it’s time for a change!
This is a pretty loaded question!! So many things to take into consideration…
What kind of change do you need?
Are you currently cutting, in maintenance, or bulking?
What’s your current level of consistency in tracking?
Are you having a hard time hitting your numbers?
Do you need a break from cutting?
What are your goals?
What do you want to get out of tracking your macros?
The more specific you get with your goals, the more specific you can get with how you want to approach macros and what kind of plan you want to create for yourself! If you want advice about reverse dieting after doing a cut, make sure to read up on our “Reverse Dieting FAQs” blog post!
I’ve been counting macros for 3 years, and lost about 30 pounds total, but as of the last year and a half, I have completely plateaued. This has been a bit discouraging. Sometimes I wonder if I need to change my macros? Or maybe I’m not eating enough? How do I figure this out to keep moving in weight loss? My original macros were 1450 calories, 80 carbs, 125 protein and 56 fat. Then my nutritionist changed it to 1406 calories, 53 carbs, 78 fat and 123 Protein.. I started in June 2016 at 160 pounds.
If you’ve been in a cut for 3 years then it’s most likely time for a reverse gal! Your body needs a break!!! It appears your nutritionist has you on a very low carb diet which if that is successful for you and what you enjoy then keep on doing your thing. Your only options when you plateau are theoretically to keep cutting calories or to REVERSE. And girl…you need to reverse! Make sure to read up on our blog post “Reverse Dieting FAQs”!
What equation do you all use to calculate your macros?
We use a combination of the Katch and Harris Benedict formulas to find your BMR. We then multiply by an activity multiplier to figure out your TDEE. Then we decide based on your goals what calorie deficit to put you in (if your goal is weight loss). Once we figure that out, we then figure out a balance of macros that we feel is best suited for you based off of your height, weight, age, dieting history, medical history, commitment, activity, and body type. We use our education and experience from working with over 1000 women on how to best. move forward with you and your goals!
If you are losing weight, do you need to recalculate your macros? If so, how often?
We recommend recalculating your macros for every 10-15 lbs lost or if your weight is the same but you’re body fat percentage is decreasing. If you’re making progress in either of those areas, we’d say that every 2-3 months you might want to re-evaluate, but honestly what’s MORE important is making OUTCOME-BASED decisions. Gauge your progress and if you need to make any adjustments based on if you’re seeing the results you want with the numbers you’re using.
With so many different tools out there to calculate macros, each giving you a different result, what's the best way to find what is best for you?
With so many calculators and coaches out there, you’re totally right. It can be confusing and overwhelming. Which is why when it comes down to it you need to understand that there are NO magic macros to give you the results you want. You can honestly find success with weight and/or fat loss with different macro ratios. This is because what matters MOST is overall calorie intake and adequate protein. The best approach is to stick to ONE set of numbers for at least 3 weeks, AT LEAST. Then (barring that you’ve been super consistent with those numbers) after the 3 weeks, take a look at the PROGRESS you’ve made. Use data that you’ve tracked (inches or lbs lost, PRs in the gym, pictures, how you’re feeling, etc…) to make OUTCOME-BASED decisions about how to proceed. Theoretically and put VERY simply, if you’re gaining weight with the macros you’re on, you’re in a calorie surplus. If you’re losing weight with the macros you’re on, you’re in a calorie deficit. If your weight stays the same, you’re in calorie balance.
I haven't been tracking for a couple of months now... luckily for me, I haven't gained. So I assume I've been eating at maintenance #'s. I think I'm about ready to cut and shed a little more fat. Not sure if I need to adjust my macros. Should I start tracking my current eating habits to see what my real intake is? And for how long?
Starting to track and see where you’re at is a great move for a couple reasons: make the transitions in phases vs. a tear out the closet let’s do ALL the goals...which can easily come from an all-or-nothing, let’s tear out the closet and start all over, white knuckle it until you burn out kind of place.
Start tracking for 3-4 days. How do you feel? What are you noticing? Are you eating as low or as high as you thought? Make sure you’re tracking things like this! Maybe that’s jotting them down in a note on your iPhone or maybe that’s getting a separate little journal to keep track of how you’re feeling.
Second cuts that did not include a reverse can be tricky depending on where you left off. Were you in a plateau—meaning had your metabolism downshifted? If you haven’t pushed your metabolism back up through a reverse it could still be functioning at a lower level which will obviously cause a problem when you try to cut again!
Can I save some macros in my macro bank to use the next day (or save a few for a few days) to use the next day (or within a few days) if I know I’d like to eat over my macros at a party/restaurant?
So, this is a loaded question. Theoretically, yes you could absolutely do this, treating the week as a complete bank of calories. And strategically organizing your days to accumulate calories for whatever day you plan. However, you’re also opening a huge messy can of worms—as well as some pretty intense mindset challenges.
It’s tricky for a few reasons. Even though we like to set up our weeks M-F, we all know that weight loss isn’t on a schedule. So with impending hormones, stress, etc, you never truly know until later if it’s an effective strategy to employ. Also, using this as a tool to have your events also works the other way. If you go over one day, are you going to inflict lower calories on yourself to “make up” for it, like a plan in reverse? This gets dangerous and becomes no different than a yyo diet, where you restrict and go big and back and forth.
Are you secure in your mindset and abilities to tackle this kind of strategy? Can you plan your week effectively and only use it as a strategy instead of a lifestyle? Prolonged under eating and then overeating WILL affect your metabolism, where your body will adapt to the lowest calorie balance it can rely on and with a surplus can use it as fat gain. It also depends on where you are in your goals and learning. IF you are new, I would advise NOT to do this. Some of you are working with a very low calorie balance already. Utilizing 500 one day and dropping 900 or even less is a dangerous strategy. This will create hunger as well as mood fluctuations. Not worth it for an evening out. The goal is to have balance, our bodies performing in the most ideal scenarios. Fat loss happens in a moderate deficit, not a severe one.
Our recommendation? Have an untracked meal. Plan for it. Eat plenty of protein, save your carbs and fat, do the best you can. You’ll feel empowered by strategies, not deprivation.
And that’s a wrap for this week! Hope you enjoyed this Q&A! But we have some questions for you…
Are you feeling overwhelmed?
Too much to process?
Feel like you’re swimming in nutrition information and not quite sure what to do with it?
We hear you sister.
And we want to help.
We were there too!